I Find This Photo Odd: Dale Weise’s invisible couch

Dale Weise appears to have found a home in Vancouver. Claimed off waivers after struggling to crack the New York Rangers’ lineup for nearly half a decade, he’s become a major part of a revamped Canucks’ fourth line that’s getting icetime and contributing in a way we’re simply not used to in Vancouver. The gritty winger looks comfortable.

Case in point: this photo, in which Weise appears to be having a lie-down on an invisible couch. Comfortable, yes, but this is too comfortable. Regardless of how settled you might feel, Dale Weise, it is unacceptable to lounge on unseen living room furniture during shifts.

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I was watching the 2005 NFL draft (I know it may sound crazy but I like watching drafts, especially the NFL and the NBA) and I remember this particular draft focussed on two quarterbacks, Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers, and which would be selected first overall.  The San Francisco 49ers had the pick and they [...]

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The Anti-Fantasy updates normally run on Saturday morning, so I apologize for the lateness of this week 4 update. Because of this, the statistics will be up to date as of Sunday at midnight rather than Friday at midnight, so don’t be too alarmed at a massive jump in your total points.

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Vancouver fans are flying high after last night’s 6-2 shellacking of the hated (and objectively evil) Chicago Blackhawks, and understandably so. While the Canucks have alternated hot or cold like they’ve been treating a sinus headache (or stimulating a nipple) for the first month and a half of the season, they put in a hot sixty minutes in Chicago, where cold performances are infuriating and common.

Still, while almost everything was coming up roses for the Canucks, it’s tough to miss that, in a 6-2 win, former Floridians David Booth and Keith Ballard both somehow managed to finish at minus-2.

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For the first time this season, the Canucks’ defence looked calm, composed, and organized in their own end. Is it a coincidence that this was also Aaron Rome’s first game in the lineup? Of course not. Like a book under a wonky table leg, Rome is a steadying influence. Rome did it all tonight, seeing icetime in all situations, and scoring the first powerplay goal of his career. With that goal, Rome is on pace for 67 goals this season. Is it too early to start the Rome for Norris talk? If anything, it’s too late. Norris buzz needs to start in the pre-season. I watched this game.

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To those looking for evidence to back up the claim that rivalries are made in the playoffs, look no further than the antagonism between the Canucks and the Blackhawks, who have faced each other in three consecutive postseasons.

No, there’s no love lost between these two organizations.

It’s no surprise. Good and evil have clashed since the dawn of time, and when one team is objectively good, such as the Canucks, and one team is objectively bad, such as the Blackhawks, acrimony is all but guaranteed.

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Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few topics that deserve mention.

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Just as we predicted, the Canucks followed up an ugly game in Minnesota with a slightly less ugly game in St. Louis. It’s amazing, however, how a one-goal game can seem so lopsided. When the Blues were in the offensive zone, it constantly seemed like they were on the verge of a gorgeous scoring chance, while the Canucks seemed to have trouble getting the puck towards the net with any regularity. In their post-game comments, however, the Canucks seemed positive, saying that they played a more complete game and stuck with their process, which brings to mind a game from last season.

On November 21, 2010, the Canucks lost 3-2 to the Phoenix Coyotes. It was the second game of a back-to-back following their worst performance of the year, the infamous Voldemort Game. In the IWTG for that loss to the Coyotes, we bemoaned the absence of Sami Salo, the shoddiness of the defence, and the lack of cycle to the Sedins game. The players, however, felt like they had performed well and stuck with their system. This should sound familiar for anyone who watched this game, and it therefore sounded familiar to me, because I watched this game.

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Last night’s game against the Minnesota Wild was absolutely miserable, a nearly unwatchable mess that saw the Canucks give up 45 shots on net, with a large number of them being golden scoring opportunities. After two big wins against the Capitals and Flames, it looked like the Canucks had put their early season struggles behind them, but last night demonstrated that this might not have been the case.

Kevin Bieksa described the game as “one of the worst performances I have been part of in this jersey” and it’s hard to argue with him. Fortunately, that game is over. Seriously. It ended last night. It’s over forever. Stop thinking about it. Tonight is a brand new game against a brand new team. It cannot possibly be as bad at that game.

Want to know why we’re so certain tonight’s game will be better? We have compiled 20 reasons.

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Fans of fighting often argue that fights can turn the tide of a game or give energy to a team that’s playing with lethargy, and, while I’ve always found this to be a silly argument, it’s important to note what happened during the first two minutes of Staubitz and Volpatti’s major penalties: the Wild finally broke through on Cory Schneider, scoring twice and turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. They never looked back.

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Drance Numbers is the silly research wing of PITB. While Messrs. Wagner and Mooney blog nationally and solve mysteries, Drance Numbers will look into the minutiae of quantifiable NHL data and bore you with it every Friday. Today, Drance chats with Brian King, the inventor of PDO.

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The Breeders’ Cup is just about to get underway at Churchill Downs. It’s grown from humble beginnings in 1984 to one of the highlights in the racing season. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more competitive gathering of racehorses in North America. This of course, translates into one heck of a betting bonanza as [...]

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For those that thought the Canucks were in the clear the moment the clock struck November, that, perhaps, all that spotty play was exclusive to October, I submit tonight’s game as evidence to the contrary. Don’t let the early goal fool you — this was the polar opposite of a sixty-minute effort, an utter bedwetting, the worst thing to happen in Minnesota since Morris Day steals Apollonia in Purple Rain. Of course, unlike that film, tonight’s game was unwatchable, and I should know, because I watched this game.

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The Canucks had 296 powerplay opportunities last season, good for 11th in the NHL. With their league-leading powerplay percentage of 24.3%, the Canucks scored a league-leading 72 goals with the man advantage. This season, the Canucks are once again leading the league in powerplay goals with 13, but are converting at a percentage of 22.4% 6th in the NHL. But they are second in the NHL in powerplay opportunities, just one behind the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It’s in the Canucks best interests to continue to draw as many penalties as possible. While it’s unlikely that the Canucks will actually draw near-400 powerplay opportunities – Carolina led the league with 346 powerplay opportunities last season – the more powerplay opportunities that the Canucks can draw with their superb powerplay, the better. Thus far, despite only scoring 1 powerplay point, Cody Hodgson has played a large role in the Canucks’ powerplay success.

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According to Kevin Bieksa, each member of the Canucks has an animal nicknames. This is awesome. We must know them all.

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Pass it to Comics: Alex Edler and Sami Salo are a perfect match

Pass it to Comics is a biweekly collaboration between PITB and cartoonist Chloe Ezra. It will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the season. Today, Alex Edler with Sami Salo just works.

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I Find This Photo Odd: Cory Schneider will kill you

We spoke earlier today about the Snack Goal principle, our explanation for that curiously frequent occurrence where the Canucks lose their shutout bid within the final ten minutes of games, and we made sure to point out that it wasn’t a Luongo-only phenomenon: Cory Schneider’s in on it too. Of course, that’s the only time during any game when Cory Schneider’s even remotely forgiving of shots in his direction. Try to score on him any other time, and he will kill you.

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Good news and bad news, Canuck fans. The good news is that Roberto Luongo seems to be rounding into last year’s form. The bad news is that the best evidence of this is the fact that he lost his shutout in the final minute of last night’s 5-1 blowout over the Calgary Flames, a frustrating phenomenon that occurred so often during the 2010-11 season, we named it.

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For the past few seasons, there have been two surefire cure-alls for Vancouver struggles: the month of November and the Calgary Flames. Lucky for the Canucks, they kicked off thirty days of the former with sixty minutes of the latter, and the result was that always enjoyable category of game we like to call the laugher. The Canucks ran away with this one early, jumping out to a 3-0 lead with a 14-shot first period, then adding two more in the second while Calgary briefly debated responding. They really never did. Like the Calgary Flames that played in this game, I watched this game.

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Keep an eye on the upper lips of the Vancouver Canucks over the next month. You may start seeing some facial decoration. That’s right, Movember is back.

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Spitballin’ on happy Weise, super Sami, Canuck Halloween costumes

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few topics that deserve mention.

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Pass it to Comics: Ryan Kesler will Keslurk just about anybody

Pass it to Comics is a biweekly collaboration between PITB and cartoonist Chloe Ezra. It will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the season. Today, Ryan Kesler makes Dracula look like a chump.

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The extraordinary finish of game six of the World Series seemed a fitting end for a month of terrific baseball that began with an historic final day of the regular season when four games were played simultaneously to decide the final two playoff participants.  Ironically, it was one of those teams that eventually became the [...]

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